While doing the dishes today, a few things have been weighing on my mind and it got me thinking… I should just stop doing dishes! I feel that my last post about my bio-dad was misinterpreted and what was meant to be a “dad, I’d really just like to hear from you!” became a whole big thing, which I’d much rather not get into.
I realize that in many ways I have been selfish, disrespectful and darn-right nasty, and for this I am very ashamed and sorry. The very reasons that I hold my step-dad’s name up so high, is for taking me and treating me like his own. And while my dad has never really been there for me, he has been for 3 other girls. I have never doubted that he is an absolutely great dad to them. I have seen pictures, posts and status updates on how my sister’s think he is their biggest hero and was proud when my youngest sister felt it was her place to protect him, after my last post. (I know that’s weird, but I am glad that they have that sort of bond!)
As a teenager, I would act out whenever I’d see posts on Facebook of something my sisters or step-sister would be doing with my dad. It’s always been this attitude of why is he able to take her for a tattoo, when he couldn’t spare 5 minutes to text me? Why can they have the latest i-phone, when I am trying to keep my grades to afford a bursary? Truth is, he probably just thought that I was okay, maybe it was something like ‘out of sight, out of mind!’ And while we’re being honest, I never really gave him the opportunity of being a dad because I was too busy trying to prove that “I am okay!” when really, I wasn’t.
In the midst of trying to show that I was better off without him anyway, I neglected to say that I was only jealous of how he put his own family first, when my parents hadn’t. And even though I am grateful for every opportunity that they have afforded me, they have also let my sister and me down. I do realize now that instead of dealing with my anger there and then, it was just much easier to blame my dad for not showing up and being there when I needed him.
My mom and step-dad’s marriage was far from perfect and it took a series of unfortunate events to get us where we are, today. A typical Friday night would see my step-dad coming home from an out-of-town job, things started out fine; we’d all be having a good family braai but before long, everyone had one too many drinks and things would go horribly wrong. There’d be screaming, shouting and even physical abuse. My mom also had a stalker who was 58 years old, he’d watch us from our bedroom windows, break into our house to steal underwear and corner my mom to hurt her. These were just some of things that 15 year old me was facing. I had approached the school counselor and started seeing her without my parents knowing but on my birthday, she told me that if things were to continue the way they were, she was going to have to call a social worker. I vowed to never go back. I didn’t want to cause more unnecessary drama, but I wish that I had someone to help me. I wish that my parents had a normal divorce, where my bio-dad got to see me on the weekends, so that I had some place where I’d feel safe, because if we’re going to be open here: I didn’t feel safe at home.
My teenage years really were something out of a horror story and when I try telling Darren about it, he gets angry because he wishes he could protect that girl. I look at that stupid TimeHop App everyday and see the absolutely broken child that I was and wish that I could just tell her, “look up kid, things are going to get better!”
I guess that if my bio-dad were reading this, I’d just like him to know that; I didn’t mean the personal attacks and although you didn’t show up to be my dad, I do respect you for being there for your 3 daughters. I would never doubt your parenting ability – I have seen you with them, you’re great! Those girl’s believe the sun shines out of your.. yeh – you know where this is going. I realize now, as a parent, that I have never considered your side, your circumstances or your feelings. But really, above all I realize that deep down there are the remains of the man that my mom still insists on standing up for – there has to be, you don’t just disappear! I realize that you didn’t mean to neglect me or our relationship but that life just happens sometimes. And that sucks! It sucks that there are not enough hours in a day to remember to just say, hi! It sucks that we have several million missed opportunities. It sucks that I felt like I had to choose, not because anyone cornered me in doing so, but because I just felt that I had to. It sucks that my selfish, broken teenage years got the better of me and that even though I thought for several hours before pressing send, the guilt fills me and haunts me, in my sleep (and while I do the dishes!) I never meant to make you feel insufficient, I meant to tell you that I needed you – I needed a dad, a parent and someone to tell me, “look up kid, things are going to get better!”